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BEGINNING TO SHOW THE STRAIN
The U.S. has been forced to ask the British to dispatch troops to a high combat dangerous trouble spot south of Baghdad. The object is to free enough American soldiers to launch a new assault against Fallujah. In the meantime, U.S. supply troops are waiting for a court martial after refusing to participate in what they felt was a suicide mission. On a different front the U.S. Army is moving the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment to Iraq. The regiment had been used to train forces before sending them into combat. That task will now be assigned to the National Guard. Finally, a secret study proposes drafting doctors in the Army in the event of a new medical emergency.
•BRITAIN WILL SEND TROOPS TO REPLACE U.S. G.I.s
(The Independent, October 18, 2004)
THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES' MILITARY BALANCE REPORTS THAT THE TERRORIST THREAT HAS INCREASED WITH THE WAR IN IRAQ
"With the military invasion and occupation of Iraq, the United States demonstrated its desire to change the political status quo in the Arab world to advance American strategic and political interests," says the Military Balance. "...the Iraq invasion was always likely in the short term to enhance jihadist recruitment and intensify Al-Qaeda's motivation to encourage and assist terrorist operations."About half of Al-Qaeda's 30 top leaders have been killed or captured since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but about 20,000 militants who trained in camps in Afghanistan remain at large with varying levels of capability and motivation...( Daily Star, Lebanon, October 20, 2004)
•IISS PRESS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON THE MILITARY BALANCE (with Military Balance Editor, Christopher Langton and London-based defense correspondents--in streaming audio)
•TOP U.S. COMMANDER WARNED THAT TROOP STRENGTH WAS TOO LOW TO SUSTAIN COMBAT
General Ricardo Sanchez wrote to the Pentagon last winter that supplies and troop strength was too low in Iraq to sustain combat. (Thomas Ricks, Washington Post, October 18, 2004)
•SECURITY POLICY WORKING GROUP HOSTS PANEL ON THE EFFECTS OF RECENT MILITARY OPERATIONS ON AMERICA ARMED FORCES
James Fallows, Lawrence Korb, and others participated in a 2-hour panel discussion in Washington on Tuesday, October 19. A broad assortment of briefing materials are available on line (click here >>> ).
Meeting details, click here >>>
•U.S. ARMY REASSIGNS TRAINING UNIT TO COMBAT
The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment had been considered an essential part of training U.S. forces going into hot zones. Not any more. (Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, october 17, 2004)
ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERS PLANS TO DRAFT DOCTORS IN THE EVENT OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Specialized professionals are most likely to be the first candidates for a return to the draft. (
Robert Pear, New York Times, October 19, 2004)
•U.S. SUPPLY UNIT REFUSES "SUICIDE" MISSION
Jeremy Hudson, a reporter on the Jackson, Clarion-Ledger newspaper, broke the story after the wife of a reservist in the 343rd Supply Company telephoned him in a panic. The reservists had refused to go into a combat zone in trucks that lacked armor and were likely to break down. (Hudson discusses his information on PBS' NewsHour, October 18, 2004)
ARMY RELUCTANT TO COURT MARTIAL RESERVISTS
Ann Scott Tyson reports in the Christian Science Monitor that Army officials are cautious about punishing the reservists for fear of the reaction in other U.S. units. (CSM, October 18, 2004)
MANY U.S. G.I.s DISTRUST THE IRAQI TROOPS THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINING
The Daily Telegraph's Adrian Blomfield reports that most U.S. soldiers have little confidence that the Iraqi troops they have been training will be up to the job. (Adrian Blomfield, Daily Telegraph, October 18, 2004)
INSURGENCY TOOK U.S. MILITARY PLANNERS BY SURPRISE
Somewhat incredibly, U.S. military planners did not expect to face an insurgency after ousting Saddam. The New York Times begins a three-part series on the Pentagon's "catastrophic success" in Iraq. (Michael Gordon, New York Times, October 19, 2004)
KIDNAPPING OF CARE EXECUTIVE IN BAGHDAD MAY SPELL END OF HUMANITARIAN AID INVOLVEMENT
Margaret Hassan has dual British and Iraqi nationality, and has worked in in Iraq for more than 30 years. The fact that she was considered a target is being taken as a significant indication of changing attitudes in the insurgency. The BBC provides background, as well as a video of her in captivity. (BBC, October 19, 2004)
CIA RELEASES SELECTED NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES ON CHINA FROM 1948 THROUGH 1976
The estimates give a general idea of how the U.S. viewed China through the revolution with Mao, and up to and through the Vietnam War. (CIA, October 18, 2004)
•Index to specific NIEs
•NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE DOCUMENTATION ON POLICIES TOWARDS CHINA FROM 1960 THROUGH 1998
CHINA'S GAD (General Armament Department)
Now that Hu is firmly in control, China is likely to accelerate its campaign to modernize its military punch. ( Dennis J. Blasko, Jamestown Foundation, October 14, 2004)
•China looks for energy security
CHINA'S SEARCH FOR NEW WEAPONS COULD WORSEN ALREADY SHAKY TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS, IF EUROPE DOES NOT CONSULT WITH WASHINGTON FIRST
America's alliance with its European allies has deteriorated to such an extent under the Bush administration, that some countries may decide to go ahead and drop the embargo on arms sales to China without consulting Washington first. That could have serious repercussions for Washington and Taiwan. (Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 12, 2004)
ARMENIA HURT BY RUSSIA CLOSING BORDERS WITH GEORGIA
Due in part to its war with Azerbaijan, Armenia is feeling economically isolated these days, and until recently it had counted on a route through Georgia to get its products to Russian markets. That route has been blocked by tensions between Moscow and Tiblisi. The result is likely to be increased economic pressure on Armenia, which is Moscow's most important ally in the Caucasus. (Emil Danielyan, Eurasianet.org, October 18, 2004)
•Armenia headed for increased instability
Crisis Group notes that with half its population below the poverty line, and few hopes for economic development, Armenia can expect increased political instability. Corruption and government inefficiency are not helping matters. (ICG, October 18, 2004)
BRITAIN RECALLS AMBASSADOR FOR PRIVATELY PROTESTING THE USE OF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION OBTAINED BY TORTURE AND PASSED ON BY THE C.I.A.
Craig Murray, Britain's ambassador to Uzbekistan,
felt that Britain was making a mistake to rely on information provided by the C.I.A., which had originally been obtained by Uzbek authorities after allegedly torturing local suspects. "We are selling our souls for dross," wrote Murray. Murray's criticisms were made in a private telegram to Whitehall, but the telegram was subsequently published in the Financial Times. The Guardian reprints reactions in London's leading newspapers. (Michael Portillo, The Guardian, October 17, 2004)
•Murray case reported in the Independent
•Murray on the BBC
•International Security Network
BAGHDAD TURNS TO VALIUM AND HARDER STUFF
Baghdad blogger, River Bend, notes that one of the cheapest things that you can buy in Iraq these days is drugs. And now that Saddam has gone, the market is booming. "Valium has always been available over the counter," she writes. "Iraq is one of those countries where you can get almost any medication 'over the counter'...We had to use it during the first week of April, as the tanks started rolling into Baghdad.
We had an older aunt staying at our house (she had been evacuated from her area) and along with my cousin, his wife, his two daughters, and an uncle, the house was crowded and- at bizarre moments- almost festive.
"The bombing had gotten very heavy and our eating, and sleeping schedules were thrown off balance...
So imagine this. It's a chilly night in Baghdad and the black of the sky suddenly lights up with flashes of white- as if the stars were exploding in the distance. The bombing was so heavy, we could hear the windows rattling, the ground shaking and the whiz of missiles ominously close. We were all gathered in the windowless hallway- adults and children. My cousin's daughters were wrapped in blankets and they sat huddled up close to their mother....Throughout this, we sit around, mumbling silent prayers, reviewing our lives and making vague promises about what we'd do if we got out of this one alive.... So where does the valium fit in? Imagine through all of this commotion, an elderly aunt who is terrified of bombing. She was so afraid, she couldn't, and wouldn't, sit still. She stood pacing the hallway, cursing Bush, Blair and anyone involved with the war- and that was during her calmer moments. When she was feeling especially terrified, the curses and rampage would turn into a storm of weeping and desolation (during which she imagines she can't breathe)- we were all going to die. They would have to remove us from the rubble of our home. We'd burn alive. And so on. And so forth. During those fits of hysteria, my cousin would quietly, but firmly, hand her a valium and a glass of water. The aunt would accept both and in a matter of minutes, she'd grow calmer and a little bit more sane. This aunt wasn't addicted to valium, but it certainly came in handy during the more hectic moments of the war. I guess it's happening a lot now after the war too. When the load gets too heavy, people turn to something to comfort them. Abroad, under normal circumstances, if you have a burden- you don't have to bear it alone. You can talk to a friend or relative or psychiatrist or SOMEONE. Here, everyone has their own set of problems- a death in the family, a detainee, a robbery, a kidnapping, an explosion, etc. So you have two choices- take a valium, or start a blog. The other 'drug' problem we're having is much more serious. Before the war and occupation, drugs (you know- cocaine, marijuana, etc.) weren't that big a problem in Iraq. Sure, we all heard of a certain person or certain area where you could get hashish or marijuana or something... but it wasn't that common. A big reason was because selling drugs was punishable by death. Now, you can find drugs in several areas in Baghdad and all sorts of pills have become quite common in the south. People living in Basrah and Najaf and other areas in the south complain that Iranians are smuggling them into the country and selling them. Iran has a large drug trade and now, we're getting some of their exports in Iraq...During my more thoughtful moments, I do think about the growing drug problem. I know that it is going to get bigger and there's nothing immediate that we can do to stop it. There seem to be such bigger problems out there, that drugs seem to be the least of our worries. Schools have started again and parents worry that their kids will be abducted or blown to pieces. I think our growing drug problem hasn't gotten that much attention with the media because, while it's going to wreak havoc in the long run, drugs don't suddenly blow off an arm or a leg, and they don't explode inside of your car and they don't come falling out of a plane to burn homes and families... in other words, people don't perceive them as a very immediate threat.
It's like discovering you have cancer while you're fighting off a hungry alligator- you'll worry about the disease later. (RiverBend, Baghdad Burning, October 17, 2004).